10 Facts about Balinese Tiger

10 Facts about Balinese Tiger

The Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica) also called harimau Bali in Indonesian, or samong in Balinese. It is an extinct tiger subspecies that was native to the Indonesian island of Bali. It was the first tiger subspecies that became extinct in recent times and also the smallest of the tiger subspecies. It was one of three subspecies of tigers found in Indonesia; the Javan tiger, which is also extinct, and the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger.

Balinese tigers were carnivores who fed on wild boars, deer, monkeys and other such animals. The only predator of Balinese tiger was humans. A national park, called Bali Barat National Park, was established as a conservation attempt for the Bali Tiger, but it was too late for this species.

Here are some facts about Balinese Tiger:



Physical description

The Bali Tiger was the smallest of the three extinct sub species.In comparison to the other subspecies, the Bali Tiger had shorter fur and fewer stripes that were darker in color. They were also known to have small black spots in between the stripes. Like finger prints on humans, the exact pattern of stripes on the tiger was as unique to the tiger. Balinese Tigers weighed about 220 pounds (100 kg) and were approximately 6.5 feet (2 meters) long.




Balinese tiger lived in Island of Bali in Indonesia. They lived in a small island with human inhabitants. It was only found on the small island of Bali near Malaysia and the Philippines in the Indian Ocean. Bali has an area of approximately 2,175 square miles, which is only slightly larger than Rhode Island, so the original population of these animals was not thought to be very large.



Hunting and killing into extinction


In the habitat that they lived, humans started to inhabit the land which invaded the natural habitat of Balinese tiger. Balinese tiger were relatively smaller than other subspecies but they were large enough to be spotted in the small island of Bali with very little space to hide due to which they were easy to hunt.

The first Tiger to get extinct

Balinese tiger-hunting

Well, as a result, Balinese tiger was one of the first tiger to get extinct. The reason of it was hunting and poaching. Historians say it wasn’t by Balinese local who hunted the tiger because they were scared of them but it was when Europeans came into Bali, they started hunting Balinese tiger which led to its extinction in 1930’s.  It is believed that the very last living Female Bali Tiger was shot by a hunter on the Northern tip of the island of Bali.


Aesthetic and commercial value

Balinese tiger commercial value

Balinese tiger had high commercial and aesthetic value that made them prone to hunters. Each and every part of them had high commercial value. Their bones were $600/lb, meat was $32- $40/ lb, blood was $80/bottle, tail $240 each, head $600 each, tongue $60 each, penis $2,400 each and public tiger slaughter was $12,000. Hence, they were hunted for money which led to their extinction.


Solitary Animal

Balinese tiger are solitary animals. They liked to stay alone. Each tiger maintained a territory of at least 10 square miles (25.9 square kilometers). And the tigers came together for only breeding purpose. This was also one of the reasons for the extinction of the tiger. If they lived in a group, they would be difficult to hunt. Also, the cubs would be less likely to get attacked. When they live alone, the mothers had to flee away leaving her cubs in case of predators attacking them.





The reproductive capability of the Bali Tiger was somewhat limited which is another reason for their extinction. Breeding takes place for 20-30 days. Once impregnated, the gestation period is approximately 90 days. The average female tiger gives birth to only 2-3 cubs’ .The females would only breed approximately every two years and most of the cubs born will most likely fall victim to predation.


Relationship with Javanese Tiger

javan tiger

Balinese tiger have close relationship with Javanese tiger. There are some theories which is related to how they were anatomically similar but resided in two different places. The first explanation is that about 10,000 years ago, the formation of the Bali Strait shortly after the last Ice Age, split a population of these tigers’ last common ancestors, which went on to develop independently over the next few thousand years. Another explanation say that only Bali or Java was inhabited by tigers after this split, and some brave individuals swam the two-mile-wide strait to populate the other island.


Not captured alive or in film EVER but documented

There are just eight Bali Tiger skulls and five skins of Bali Tiger specimens that have been preserved in museum collections across the world. The Balinese tiger was never captured alive on film or motion picture, or displayed in a public zoo, but a few skulls, skins and bones are preserved in museums. Some of the museums are The British Museum in London has the largest collection, with two skins and three skulls. Other museums are the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, the Naturkunde Museum in Stuttgart, the Naturalis museum in Leiden and the Zoological Museum of Bogor, Indonesia, which owns the remnants of the last known Balinese tiger. In 1997, a skull emerged from the old collection of the Hungarian Natural History Museum and was scientifically studied and properly documented.


Balinese Tiger Tales

In Bali, Tigers were present in folkloric beliefs and magic. For example, the Balinese considered the ground powder of tiger whiskers to be a potent and undetectable poison for one’s foe. According to the same book mentioning this, Miguel Covarrubias’s Island Of The Gods, when a Balinese baby was born, he was given a protective amulet necklace with black coral and “a tiger’s tooth or a piece of tiger bone”


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